Banholzer v. New York Life Insurance Company
United States Supreme Court
BANHOLZER v. NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
Argued: and Submitted April 27, 1900. --- Decided: May 28, 1900
This action was brought in the district court of the second judicial district of the state of Minnesota upon a life insurance policy for $20,000, issued by defendant in error to William Banholzer, husband of the plaintiff in error, dated the 16th of September, 1895, payable upon the death of Banholzer to plaintiff in error, or to Banholzer himself on the 16th of September, 1915, if he should be living then.
The premiums were to be paid annually in advance on the 16th day of September of every year, until twenty full years' premiums should be paid.
The first premium was paid, which continued the policy in force until the 16th of September, 1896.
The policy contained the following provisions:
'If any premium is not paid on or before the day when due, this policy shall become void, and all payments previously made shall remain the property of the company, except as hereinafter provided.
'A grace of one month will be allowed in payment of subsequent premiums after this policy shall have been in force three months, subject to an interest charge at the rate of 5 per cent per annum for the number of days during which the premium remains due and unpaid. During the month of grace this policy remains in force, the unpaid premium, with interest, as above, remains an indebtedness to the company, which will be deducted from the amount payable under this policy if the death of the insured shall occur during the month.' On the 6th day of October, 1896, Banholzer paid the defendant the sum of $286 in cash, and executed and delivered to the defendant the following note:
St. Paul, Minn., 9-16, 1896.
Without grace, six months after date, I promise to pay to the order of the New York Life Insurance Company, eight hundred and sixty dollars, at Second National Bank, St. Paul, Minn. Value received, with interest at the rate of 5 per cent per nn um.
This note is given in part payment of the premium due 9-16-'96, on the above policy, with the understanding that all claims to further insurance and all benefits whatever which full payment in cash of said premium would have secured, shall become immediately void and be forfeited to the New York Life Insurance Company, if this note is not paid at maturity, except as otherwise provided in the policy itself.
(Signed) William Banholzer.
The following receipt was given for the note:
St. Paul, Minn., 10-6-'96.
Note six months, after date 9-16-'96, due 3-16-'97, without grace, made by William Banholzer, payable at Second National Bank, St. Paul, Minn. Received from the owner of policy No. 692,465, $286 in cash, and his note at six months for $860, which continues said policy in force until the 16th day of September, 1897, at noon, in accordance with its terms and conditions, provided the above note is paid at maturity, and this receipt signed by
J. A. Campbell,
The note matured March 16, 1897, when it was surrendered to Banholzer, and he paid to the defendant $241.50 in cash, and executed and delivered to the defendant a new note in terms exactly similar to the first note, except that it was payable in sixty days from date. This note was never paid.
On May 28, 1897, Banholzer was taken sick, and died on July 5, 1897.
On June 18, 1897, Banholzer, through his attorney, sent a draft to the defendant for the sum of $690, being the amount due on the note of March 16 of that year, in tender of its payment. The defendant returned the draft, writing by its comptroller that 'as policy No. 692,465-Banholzer-stands lapsed on the books of the company for nonpayment of the note described above, we return herewith the draft forwarded in your letter of above date. We shall thank you for an acknowledgment of this inclosure. When writing please refer to this letter by file number.'
By the application for the policy the latter was to be construed according to the laws of New York. The statute which is claimed to be applicable is inserted in the margin.
The notice required by the statute was duly given more than fite en and less than forty-five days prior to September 16, 1896, but no notice was given prior to the maturity of the notes, except the ordinary bank notice.
No life insurance corporation doing business in this state shall declare forfeited or lapsed any policy hereafter issued or renewed, and not issued upon the payment of monthly or weekly premiums, or unless the same is a term insurance contract for one year or less, nor shall any such policy be forfeited or lapsed by reason of nonpayment when due of any premium, interest, or instalment or any portion thereof required by the terms of the policy to be paid, unless a written or printed notice stating the amount of such premium, interest, instalment or portion thereof due on such policy, the place where it should be paid, and the person to whom the same is payable, shall be duly addressed and mailed to the person whose life is insured, or the assignee of the policy, if notice of the assignment has been given to the corporation, at his or her last known postoffice address, postage paid by the corporation or by an officer thereof or person appointed by it to collect such premium, at least fifteen and not more than forty-five days prior to the day when the same is payable.
The notice shall also state that unless such premium, interest, or instalment or portion thereof then due shall be paid to the corporation or to a duly appointed agent or person authorized to collect such premium, by or before the date it falls due, the policy and all payments thereon will become forfeited and void except as the right to a surrender value or paidup policy, as in this chapter provided.
If the payment demanded by such notice shall be made within its time limited therefor, it shall be taken to be in full compliance with the requirements of the policy in respect to the time of such payment, and no such policy shall in any case be forfeited or declared forfeited or lapsed until the expiration of thirty days after the mailing of such notice. Laws 1892, chap. 690, § 92.
The insurance company has not returned the note of March 16, 1897, and the record does not show that it has ever been demanded.
By stipulation of the parties, the printed record in Conway v. Phoenix Mut. L. Ins. Co. 140 N. Y. 79, 35 N. E. 520, together with briefs of counsel, were made part of the record, as though they had been introduced in evidence, and it was also stipulated that they should be certified to this court.
At the close of the plaintiff's testimony the case was dismissed. Subsequently a motion for a new trial was made and denied, and an appeal was then taken to the supreme court of the state, which affirmed the decision of the trial court. A reargument was granted, and the court adhered to its opinion. 74 Minn. 387, 77 N. W. 295, 78 N. W. 244.
The case is here on writ of error, and defendant in error moves to dismiss for want of jurisdiction, or to affirm the judgment.
Mr. C. D. O'Brien for plaintiff in error.
Messrs. George C. Squires and F. W. M. Cutchcon for defendant in error.
Mr. Justice McKenna delivered the opinion of the court:
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